In the beginning of May, I alerted you in the church bulletin about an amazing opportunity: With around $80,000 left on our parish debt, an anonymous parishioner offered to match any donations given in May towards our debt elimination up to $25,000. Well, generous parishioners like you accepted the invitation and have met the goal! As a result of your incredible response, the parish debt is now only $30,000; however, the good news doesn’t stop there. Inspired by the progress of these matching funds, another anonymous parishioner has now offered to match any donations towards our debt, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000. If we can raise an additional $15,000 between now and June 30, we can eliminate the entire debt. How amazing is that?!
For those who don’t know the history of this debt, I offer a little background. The debt itself was incurred from prior Christ the King campaigns dating back to the church renovation, school improvements, and related projects in 2007. In February 2014, then Pastor – and now Bishop – Hanefeldt started the Debt Elimination Appeal with special envelopes to address the $1,000,000 parish debt he inherited. He made a plan to pay down the debt, a plan that I have continued since I arrived here three years ago on May 1, 2015. Every year we have budgeted about $120,000 to go towards debt reduction. These payments came from your donations, Ignite the Faith rebates, and parishioner bequests. Below you can see the debt reduction through the years to where we currently stand:
- 2/1/2014 Debt: $1,000,000 (incurred from prior Christ the King campaigns)
- 2/1/2015 Debt: $587,894 (reduced by $412,106)
- 2/1/2016 Debt: $395,807 (reduced by $192,087)
- 2/1/2017 Debt: $243,569 (reduced by $152,238)
- 2/1/2018 Debt: $107,112 (reduced by $136,457)
- 5/26/2018 Debt: $30,000 (reduced by $77,112)
It is not uncommon for Catholic parishes and schools to incur debts – after all, it is our nature as Christians to step out in faith, and to perform His necessary good works. Many families experience this reality with their mortgages and car and student loans, etc. Like any debt, ours has had real consequences. It has caused many instances of deferred maintenance that the members of our new Building and Maintenance Committee have been addressing. The debt, along with the deaths of many longtime, generous parishioners, and, decreased donations in the Sunday collection, has also affected staffing positions and set back salaries in the school and parish. We strive to provide just wages to our wonderful teachers and staff, and are always working hard to find sources of sustainable revenue for them and to bolster their positions. The generosity of your regular tithing – contributions to the Sunday collections, electronically or in person – makes our remarkable school and all of our other apostolates possible. The debt, however, has impacted these efforts through the years.
Nevertheless, your generosity and good will has abounded: The debt has steadily been paid down since 2014 and now we have the opportunity to end it entirely. Will you help our parish be free of this burden? Every donation towards this debt relief is needed and matters. Please indicate on any gift that it is intended for our parish debt or use the specially marked DEBT ELIMINATION envelopes located at the entrances to the church. I am most grateful to all of our remarkable donors and I thank you for your consideration and kindness.
Your Servant in Christ,
Fr. Damien J. Cook
Pastor of Christ the King Church